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Which is rude(r): to be a waffler, or to be the person who asks the waffler to stop waffling?

(47 Posts)
MrsBertMacklin Tue 03-Nov-15 21:11:57

Person at work who just keeps on talking and doesn't pick up on body language from other people that they are labouring their point / boring people, or when actually asked to keep their explanation/answers to questions brief and fail to modify whatsoever.

At my wits' end with said person who turned a two hour meeting into a three hour meeting in spite of being asked three times to just answer the question asked / be succinct.

I consider this as a form of rudeness / lack of consideration for other people's time, but: would it be even ruder to tell him straight on, before the next meeting, that he needs to find a way to self-edit as he is wasting hours of other people's time and that if he waffles in the next meeting I am going to be very blunt, in front of colleagues about the need for him to STFU?

Bearing in mind, I have already tried to deal with this non-bluntly, on four separate occasions?

MaidOfStars Tue 03-Nov-15 21:30:26

Do you chair the meetings?

MrsBertMacklin Tue 03-Nov-15 21:34:57

Yes and to give full context, everyone in the meeting reports to me either as a subcontractor or a team member. Hence me wavering about whether, in spite of previous requests not being heeded, it is fair to be sharp with him in front of others or if there's a better way.

SaucyJack Tue 03-Nov-15 21:37:03

Depends.

Is he waffling because he's anxious or suffers from poor co-ordination between mind and speech? He may mean well but have trouble expressing his thoughts concisely?

Or is he just an arrogant type who likes the sound of his own voice? If so, string the fucker up with my blessing.

MrsBertMacklin Tue 03-Nov-15 21:40:55

He's said he suffers from verbal diarrea (sic) when I've asked him to be brief previously. The nerves thing has crossed my mind but I don't know him well enough and although he reports to me in these meetings, I'm not his line manager.

Raise with line manager, do you think, rather than him?

Doobigetta Tue 03-Nov-15 21:47:34

I think the chances are his line manager wouldn't do anything about it- they'll have sat through meetings with him as well, so won't be unaware of the problem. Unless asking if someone else from the team could attend instead is an option.
I completely sympathise though. I have a terror of boring people and as a result always give the shortest update in any meeting. It amazes me how self-obsessed/lacking in awareness other people can be when they go on and on.

AnotherDame Tue 03-Nov-15 21:55:20

Get a 3 minute timer and whoever is speaking has to answer before the sand runs out. Should cut it down a bit!

nickelbabe Tue 03-Nov-15 21:57:59

I like the 3 minute timer.

As chairperson, and in the meeting, it's not rude.
Outside of the meeting it would be

PurpleTreeFrog Tue 03-Nov-15 22:03:49

SaucyJack I totally agree... I tend to waffle on a bit in some work situations, around certain people I feel anxious and often justify myself at length without really meaning to.

On the other hand I can think of a few people who waffle on for the opposite reason - they're full of confidence and they love the sound of their own voice and the brilliant ideas they want to bestow upon the rest of us. I wouldn't really call that waffling though - sometimes what they're saying is perfectly clear and intelligent, but they're just taking too much airtime.

if you are chairing then its expected that you cough interrupt, succinctly summarise what he said for the minutes then ask that the meeting move on.

MrsBertMacklin Tue 03-Nov-15 22:07:30

Timer feels like it might be more humiliating than telling him to zip it, I think.

Playing the countdown music on my phone when he gets to the 2:30 mark IS tempting, though...

IguanaTail Tue 03-Nov-15 22:09:22

Agree with timer but don't think this is first step. First step is giving an agenda with a set time limit for each item and to draw people's attention to it at the start of each new section.

Step 2 - timer

Step 3 - interrupt and thank person and move on

BathshebaDarkstone Tue 03-Nov-15 22:09:45

I used to tell XH that people had stopped listening, but he was my H. Not sure if it's a colleague. hmm

MrsBertMacklin Tue 03-Nov-15 22:11:56

Argh, in which case I'm already at the timer stage because all my agendas are timed and reiterating the timetable is the first thing I do in meetings.

What do you think about the following:

"{NAME}, you've been speaking for 2 minutes, I think we've covered this and can move on, do you agree?" Repeated ad nauseam.

MrsBertMacklin Tue 03-Nov-15 22:12:39

Actually forget the 'do you agree' bit, too passive.

IguanaTail Tue 03-Nov-15 22:13:32

Yes agree. Say at the start of each section - "ok, this is a 4 minute section - Mike can you let us know when the time's up please?" Give someone else time keeping role and then you will have unwritten support.

MrsBertMacklin Tue 03-Nov-15 22:15:07

OOOH - shall I give him the role of timekeeping? Then if he runs the timer out on himself he has to tell himself to stop talking? grin

In seriousness, thanks everyone, this sounds like a plan.

IguanaTail Tue 03-Nov-15 22:17:43

Might be a tad obvious first time. Give it to a stickler first time. Then him next so he can copy the stickler attitude... Good luck!

redexpat Tue 03-Nov-15 22:18:12

Do it Shakespeare style!
More matter, with less art.

Might confuse them into silence.

IguanaTail Tue 03-Nov-15 22:20:59

Don't worry at all about the timer being humiliating. It will be a total relief to everyone else. Remember judge judy "in 30 seconds or less..."

emotionsecho Tue 03-Nov-15 22:21:51

He's said he suffers from verbal diarrea (sic) so he is aware of what he does which I think gives you a way in to address the problem. Could you speak to him prior to any meeting and say you are going to strictly enforce the timing rules and will cut him off/use a timer, etc., and suggest he prepares himself better for the meetings, then stick to it. If he is forewarned that this is going to happen he cannot complain when it does.

MrsBertMacklin Tue 03-Nov-15 22:22:29

Right, role models for next week

Shakespeare
Judge Judy
Richard Whiteley

MrsBertMacklin Tue 03-Nov-15 22:24:13

Emotions, good point, going to do this tomorrow, thank you.

IguanaTail Tue 03-Nov-15 22:25:05

Correct.

Verbal diarrhoea indeed. Well you aren't toilet bowls so he can sod off.

emotionsecho Tue 03-Nov-15 22:26:15

I always wonder how people who waffle on like this cannot sense the body language around them changing - people glazing over, shifting in their seats, fidgeting, looking out the window, etc., they always seem to be so totally oblivious.

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